A while ago, an intern (Kim Seghers) assisted us in the evaluation of our weekly IHP newsletter. We really would like to thank the many among you who took the time to fill out a feedback form and/or responded positively to Kim’s request for an ‘evaluation’ phone call. She did an excellent job, and we’re happy to share with you some of the results now. You can find the key messages of the evaluation more in detail here. In another document we shed light on the actions we’re considering to address some of the key issues raised by interviewees in the coming weeks and months. Most of the subscribers seem fairly happy with the weekly mix of health policy briefs, think tank reports, academic & mainstream news we offer. Nevertheless, a number of key issues were raised in the evaluation, which we will take into account: A substantial minority of subscribers object to us taking sides in global health debates, especially subscribers from Africa, Asia and some BRICs countries.

Civil servants, both national and international ones, disapprove more than others. Strangely enough, very few people see a problem in the introduction of our newsletter (which is the place where we usually come up with more explicit stances). We do not intend to change our approach in this respect (we don’t do self-censorship), so we won’t refrain from taking sides in global debates in the future. Yet, we will aim for a better mix of viewpoints, by setting up a pool of (mainly Southern) guest editors, in line with the “Switching the Poles” approach of this institute.  If subscribers still mind then, we strongly encourage them to consider some Buddhist or Veda reading.

Many subscribers let us know they want more regional news. As the newsletter already consumes a lot of our resources and time here at ITM, we would definitely welcome more correspondents in the South (on top of the hubs we already have in a few countries), who can build on our newsletter and adjust or extend it as they seem fit. We are happy to facilitate this to the extent possible.

We will also continue to experiment with other options to send out the newsletter, in addition to the existing RSS feeds and blog. Dropbox, smartphone apps,  Facebook, … they are all being considered. A ‘knowledge management’ staff member will explore some of these options in the (very) near future. Also, many subscribers asked for an archive of some sort. In fact, there already is an archive – see our website, there’s an archive by date or keywords in the right column, and one with content tags at the bottom (see our archive by tags). Granted, we could probably have done a better job advertising this archive. But we aren’t Saatchi & Saatchi.

That’s about it as far as the evaluation is concerned. Needless to say, we hope you continue to provide feedback whenever you feel the need. Last week, feedback from one of our former colleagues on our inclusion of a WB report on PPP in Africa already sparked a debate on our blog. We hope you chip in.

On a completely different note then: our colleagues at the Institute of Public Health, Bangalore are glad to to announce the beginning of a new journal, “Health, Culture and Society“. IPH is a member of the international editorial board of the journal along with several other leading institutions. The journal is completely open access. It will promote critical studies, disseminate important contemporary research and act as an international podium for the exchange of new ideas, strategies and practices.  The journal is geared towards an inter-disciplinary approach to issues of health, culture and society. Further details of the journal may be found on the website of the journal hosted on the University of Pittsburgh website – http://hcs.pitt.edu. The journal is peer-reviewed and indexed in all major databases. Contributions are still being sought for the inaugural issue (by July 15th).

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